I have been thinking a little bit about what to write today. I have a path I want to go down so when I look back I have a milestone and I can look at it and see if things have changed.
First, I should update on my progress. Was yesterday better than the day before? Nope, not even close, but it wasn’t bad either and today will surely be better. I only got to see my wife for 25 min yesterday when we were awake. We were both either running our kids or ourselves 1000 different directions so I saw her for a few minutes before I took the kids to school, then a little bit before we left for our children’s nightly activities. So that was not all that fun. I did get my 15 sec and we texted and called each other throughout the day so we still had a chance to connect, but it got a little lonely for a bit.
Now I want to write about what I have learned so far through all this. I know I have a lot to learn and am nowhere close to being finished with this journey, but I think a little reflection might help to see if I am making progress or just spinning my wheels.
First, I learned that you have to take care of yourself in order to be able to show love to someone else. Both my wife and I have failed in this area. She with her depression and me since the affair. When I am eating and sleeping I know my days are easier and I have good days with her, even if we have deep, long discussions. I can show her love because I have the energy and the drive to do that when I am eating and sleeping. When I am not I focus on myself and cannot share anything.
Second, I have tried to give excuses for why the affair has happened. I did this early on and still catch myself doing it every now and then. The reality is I am the one who made the decision to cheat. If I thought the marriage was that bad I should have left, not taken this route. I made that choice and she had nothing to do with that choice. I have to take responsibility and be a key component in both her recovery and my own. This will not fix itself.
Third, I need to be more honest because sometimes showing loves does hurt. The most loving thing you can give someone is honesty even if it hurts that person. I continue on a regular basis to fail at this. I have to stop myself and not sugar coat everything. I just need to be honest and then let the other person make their decision based on all the information not just the version I give them.
Fourth, I hate but need other people. I like being by myself, but not having anyone to discuss my problems with but myself is what caused a lot of this. I was able to rationalize and convince myself the affair was for the best. I was able to convince myself that being with the other woman was reality and not identifying it as fantasy. I know there are a lot of people, guys especially, who think they can fix themselves. Well you cannot, because you really struggle to see the problem from the right perspective. Even when you think you are doing well you will rationalize small things, but those are the things that add up to make a difference later on. I have to have someone else, for me it is my counselor. A close friend who would be brutally honest might serve if nothing else is available, but don’t do it alone. You are just dragging out the misery that way.
Fifth, my wife is not the enemy. She wants me to succeed, not fail. I cannot look at her as the one who is the bad guy when she calls me out on holding back. I am the bad guy to myself so I need her. She may not like the role but she does it because she wants me, us, to succeed in this.
Sixth, everything I thought I knew about relationships is crap. Most of what I read is crap. I tried every self-help book and article to “fix” our marriage but the marriage was not the problem. It was the two participants in the marriage. Neither of us treated the other how they wanted, needed to be treated to be happy. Now we are discovering how to do that, mostly by fumbling because every couple and relationship is different so there is no set way to “fix” your marriage.
Seventh, I never really understood the devastation that depression and anxiety can cause on a person. I don’t know that anyone will ever get it unless they go through it. I am far from recovered but I am slowly getting better in this area.
Last, I never knew how quickly and drastically my priorities could change. Once I was forced to choose between the sides it just about killed me, but it was because I was selfish. Once I looked at what I wanted and removed the people involved there was only one choice. My wife fit the criteria I wanted and needed and the things she was lacking I knew we could work on together. I had a clouded perspective caused by my own isolation and once that was removed it became much clearer.
Hopefully as I look back in a few months I have more to add to this list and possibly expand on the things I have written on here. Now I need to head home and see my wife for at least 35 min before the craziness of our lives begins.
Things may happen and often do to people as brainy and footsy as you – Dr. Seuss
A most awesome and honest reflection. With this you have already come a long way from where you were. Just keep on doing what you are doing and you will get to where you want to be. Be patient, stay focused on your goal and every day will take you closer to having the relationship you both want.
Hey its good to see you’re gaining some really great reflection and even some wisdom here. It’s true, all those self-help books and advice don’t work for every marriage – they all take a slightly different philosophy and spin advice that way. Keep doing what you and your wife thinks is best, allow mistakes, and grow together from the journey! You blog really makes me reflect as well…
Something you’ve stated is “I never knew how quickly and drastically my priorities could change”. I’m still struggling with what this … we as humans grow and over time, our priorities and interests will definitely will change. What we wanted a one point may not be what we want at another point. So where do we draw the line to say – this is something I will never give up? I am a believer in marriage and that it should be for life; and that both partners should work to compromise. Just as we cannot chose or parents, or deny our children, why should we consider marriage any different – to even consider divorce as ever an option. Family is family. There are some fair reasons why some couples should get divorced (eg. abuse, and yes, infidelity)… but to divorce because one partner has “fallen out of love”, suddenly wants “different things in life”, “meets someone new”… I really don’t think those are good reasons because they are inherently selfish without a regard for the family involved, or a lack of commitment to a promise they made to themselves and their family for life. I’m having difficulty defining when divorce is ok – but I guess in terms of “mid life crisis” or “affairs” – I would say, we have a right to pursue what makes us happy – as long as what we’re pursuing will make us better persons for it. And i guess giving up on marriage or having affairs may seem justified at the time, but in the long run the person would give up honesty, integrity, love, and much more for a selfish desire.
Sorry if I’m rambling here now. Anyway, just wanted to end with words of encouragement that I think you and your wife are on your way to recovery. Be patient, take each day at a time, and focus on creating the relationship you want. Don’t chase the end goal, but enjoy the journey to getting there.
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Thanks. As always I enjoy your comments.
This is so raw and honest and vulnerable. I love it. I hope my previous romantic partner could talk to you. I think he could learn a lot from you. Keep up the good work, sir! 🙂
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Thanks. It helps me understand myself so I just write and try not to filter any of it. I haven’t even got to a lot of the bad stuff yet. Ughhh..
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“I have tried to give excuses for why the affair has happened. I did this early on and still catch myself doing it every now and then. The reality is I am the one who made the decision to cheat. If I thought the marriage was that bad I should have left, not taken this route. I made that choice and she had nothing to do with that choice.”
That’s a huge thing to accept and admit. Often people get stuck in blaming and rationalizing, and when that happens I don’t believe progress can ever be made.
You make a great observation about “self help” stuff. I read a lot of things, and although there are a lot of commonalities in the things I read to me that doesn’t make them “truth”. Each situation is a bit different, and some things will resonate with me while others won’t. I pick and choose the bits that seem to fit for me and my own situation, and try to ignore the rest. There is no right, and not wrong. Any time someone says “you need to do X” I ignore it, unless it makes sense to me from my own perspective. Often people are speaking from their own experiences, and those don’t necessarily apply.
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I couldn’t agree more.
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I’ve been there and still am there.
Although my choice was to leave.
He’s still holding a vengeance and tryin to make my life Hell.
That is too bad. Maybe someday he will come around. Do you have kids? Is that why he is still around?
Yeah, we have kids together.
He loves to use them as a weapon.
Despite we have both moved on and we are dating someone else, he still likes to throw up the past…
I cheated. He cheated.
I went as far as moving a GF of his in with us. (Long story.)
It sounds complicated, but then again whose story isn’t. Feel free to share if you need to unload it. That’s what I am doing. Spewing my story here so it stops tearing me apart on the inside.
I just read your candid post.
7 honest, open points, acknowledging where you are at. Bravo.
One point in life is that EVERYONE benefits from loving themselves, this is imperative.
NO ONE can fix another person. The other person is a bonus.
We are all accountable 100% for what we do, you acknowledge this. That is a result.
Listen to be understood. Accept you are where you are now, in a better place, smile and carry on making the positive steps you are.
Sounds like you don’t need a counsellor, they do help, YET you have all the answers yourself, whoever you are. Writing is your therapy.
Move forward everyday, head high.
I know nothing of your affair etc, no one can pose judgement, opinions etc, all that COUNTS is how YOU FEEL and what YOU do to make everything POSITIVE for your loved ones.
(p.s. I know the pain caused by affairs, the only one who suffers really is the people involved and how they deal with it, they CHOOSE to deal well with it that will lead to a brighter present. Don’t give a shit what OTHERS think, say.. me rambling here. ALL THAT COUNTS is YOU
LOVE YOURSELF in order to truly love and ALLOW, ASK for FORGIVENESS
All the best,
Your doing incredible. I think most people would be grateful to have a husband try half as hard as you are. We say in our family when pressed with huge task – you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. Keep moving forward, be proud of what you have accomplished too.
Thanks. I just want to keep going forward and keep everything behind me and just getting more distant.
It will, I barely remember the hurt anymore. My boyfriend who had a similar situation to mine, also barely remembers, it will heal, it just feels like it never will.
That was so good.
Thank you. That was just under a year after the affair started.
Just wondering how long was the affair
The “official” affair was about 6 months long. I think I met her in July and saw her for the last time January.
Hi just 3 questions if you don’t mind me asking. Are you from the USA. And are you still not being able to sleep(that is why I ask the first question). Do you miss the OW or just do you miss how you felt during the time spent with her.
I am from the US. My sleep comes and goes but I sleep much less than I used to. I can be fine on 3-4 hours of sleep now. I think there are lots of reasons I cannot sleep anymore with a lot of them related to the affair.
As for do I miss her…
That is really hard to answer. I have a lot of mixed feelings about her and the whole affair. I sometimes feel like she played me to get things from me (but I do not blame her for the affair – that is all me), but I do miss her some days. Do I miss the feelings, absolutely. She really knew how to make me really feel wanted, attractive, and special.
Maybe you don’t really miss her just the feeling you had when you were with her. It’s like you associate it with her so therefore you miss her if you understand what I mean. As for her playing you maybe she did or maybe she didn’t you will never know. But really if you look at it you also used her as well. You used her to make you feel better because you felt your wife wasn’t loving you.